A day-long grand prayer to mourn the recent self-immolations, will also be held at the main temple in Dharamsala, where the administration bases itself.
Presenter: Sen Lam
Speaker: Tsering Kyinzom, spokeswoman, Australian Tibet Council, speaking from Dharamsala
KYINZOM: The prayers are to express our solidarity with the young Tibetans, who have taken that most desperate measure of self-immolation in eastern Tibet. In the past fortnight, up to eight Tibetans, young Tibetans have set themselves on fire, in protest against the Chinese suppression in Tibet. And a nun, from a local nunnery in Ngaba, in eastern Tibet has set herself on fire and this is the first time, we are hearing in the Tibetan movement, that a woman and a nun, has resorted to such an action.
LAM: The number of monks in the town of Ngaba has also fallen from 2,500 in March, by about three quarters, to just 600 now. So are the numbers of monks and nuns diminishing in Sichuan province, do you think?
KYINZOM: Monks, especially at Kirti monastery which, being a hotbed of Tibetan resistance since 2008, the numbers have been diminishing, especially since March this year, when the monk Phuntsog, a 20 year old monk from the monastery, staged a peaceful protest in the town centre and set himself on fire, and then, later died. The self-immolation triggered a protest from the lay people in the town and Chinese authorities have increased its crackdown on the monastery. From the protest in March, it seems around 300 monks have been detained and taken to a detention centre, to an undisclosed location and they don't have any information on that yet.
LAM: How do the Tibetan leaders feel about the self-immolations, because Buddhism tells you every life is precious, and that it's wrong to take one's life?
KYINZOM: Yes, all the Tibetans, including the Tibetan government-in-exile, is saddened and shocked by the action taken by the young Tibetans, and of course, we would like to appeal to the Tibetans not to resort to the drastic measure, but what this indicates is that the Tibetans inside Tibet have reached a breaking point, and for them, it seems as if this is the final act of protest against Chinese rule and also a way to draw attention from the world, from the international community, to the situation in Tibet.
LAM: Tell us about the events planned for New Delhi. I understand that from Wednesday, there'll be a series of rallies?
KYINZOM: For the next three or four days, the Tibetan government-in-exile, led by Parliament and the Kasharg, which is the cabinet, have launched a solidarity movment which involves a number of peace marches, candle-light vigils and processions and prayer services in the capital city of New Delhi. Around thousands of Tibetans and a number of activists and political leaders, sitting members of the government are actually gathering in New Delhi today, to participate in this solidarity movement.
LAM: The new prime minister Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, will also be embarking on his maiden tour to drum up support. Can you tell us where he's going and what will he do?
KYINZOM: The new prime minister Lobsang Sangay is going to Washington in the next few days and meeting a number of American law-makers in the Congress and the Senate. This is his first visit, after he has taken office as the new political leader of the Tibetan people in August. Of course, in view of the ongoing crisis in Ngaba, he will be speaking to the American government to help end the crisis in Ngaba in eastern Tibet, but more so, as the new political leader of Tibet, and to talk about his commitment towards the resolution of the Tibet issue at large.